Master’s thesis project: identifying logistics for new sanitation systems products

Proposed Title: Identifying effective transport systems and logistics for new sanitation systems that produce fertilisers from human wastes.

Credits: 30 credits; Level: Advanced
Subject: Technology or Environmental Science
Start: As soon as possible

Background: In the sanitation sector, there is growing recognition that we urgently need to change the way we handle, treat, and recycle human wastes in our environment. At the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the environmental engineering research group has developed the ‘urine dehydrator’, an exciting new technology that converts liquid human urine into a hygienic, commercial-quality, dry fertiliser. The technology involves two steps, (a) using a urine-diverting toilet at home, to separately collect urine without the faeces; and (b) drying the urine within an alkaline substrate that placed is placed in the urine dehydrator.

Although individual houses can collect and dry urine, the dried fertiliser produced here still needs to be collected by a service provider. It either needs to be stored or transferred to agricultural areas for end-use. The households also need to be supplied with fresh alkaline substrates periodically. Hence, to formalise this system in an urban area, it is necessary to identify how a centralised service chain can be created.

Some questions surrounding this service chain are: How should the urine dehydrator be serviced? By whom? And when? Which actors/stakeholders need to be involved in the creation of this service chain? How can the service chain be managed to ensure it functions smoothly? There are multiple ways through which this can be done. For instance, one option could be to combine municipal solid waste collection and the urine dehydrator service chain. The aim of this Masters project will be to identify different approaches by which this service chain can be created, map these logistics, and evaluate its suitability.     

Results from this project will significantly contribute towards an ongoing research project funded by the Swedish Research Council called, “Productive on–site sanitation system: new value chain for urine based fertiliser”.   

Interested? Get in touch with us:

Dr. David Ljungberg, Researcher, Logistics and Transport Group, Department of Energy and Technology; david.ljungberg@slu.se

Prithvi Simha, PhD Candidate, Environmental Engineering Group, Department of Energy and Technology, SLU Prithvi.Simha@slu.se

Dr. Björn Vinnerås, Assoc. Professor, Environmental Engineering Group, Department of Energy and Technology, Bjorn.Vinneras@slu.se  

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